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vaccine

Tick saliva may hold key to Lyme vaccine

Erol Fikrig, MD, and other researchers at the Yale School of Medicine may be hot on the trail of creating a new Lyme vaccine.   

What makes this Lyme vaccine different from the one that was taken off the market in 2002?   

From a recent post on Science Blog.com   

"Traditionally, vaccines have directly targeted specific pathogens. This is the first time that antibodies against a protein in the saliva of a pathogen's transmitting agent (in this case, the tick) has been shown to confer immunity when administered protectively as a vaccine."   

Apparently the old Lyme vaccine "utilized just the outer surface proteins of the bacteria."

"The authors [of this study] believe this new strategy of targeting the saliva - the 'vector molecule' that a microbe requires to infect a host - may be applicable not just to Lyme disease but to other insect-borne pathogens that also cause human illness."

"We believe that it is likely that many arthropod-borne infection agents of medical importance use vector proteins as they move to the mammalian host," Fikrig explained.

If their scientific hunch proves correct, this study may also have positive implications for treatment of other illnesses that are spread by insects.

"Currently, we are working to determine if this strategy is likely to be important for West Nile virus infection, dengue fever, and malaria, among other diseases."
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Lyme review panel members stir concern

At last, the IDSA (Infectious Diseases Society of America) has selected members to review the guidelines for the treatment of Lyme disease. Lyme awareness groups are alarmed at the placement of Carol J. Baker, MD, as the committee chairperson. Notably, there are also no ILADS (International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society) members on the review panel.

Lynn Shepler, MDJD, shares her concerns:

CAROL J. BAKER, MD, head of the new committee formed as a result of AG Richard Blumenthal's investigation, is Past-President of IDSA, and lists her chief interests as "VACCINOLOGY," "CLINICAL TRIALS," AND "VACCINE POLICY." She has published "more than 100 articles on vaccine research."

Dr. Baker is also a member of the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Was Dr. Baker a member of the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices of the CDC at any point when past or future Lyme disease vaccines have been discussed --- formally, or informally?

The team she is part of at "The Center of Vaccine Awareness and Research" in Houston, Texas describes itself as "dedicated to improving the health of children from infancy through adulthood by promoting vaccinations and educating families and health care providers on all available vaccines."

Uh, does this include the Lyme vaccine(s)? Dr. Wormser's principal conflict of interest was that he was consulting to pharmaceutical companies on Lyme disease vaccines --- something he knew about and refused to disclose to IDSA administrators.

Dr. Wormser was head of each of the two IDSA guidelines on Lyme disease that have been issued. In my personal opinion, both versions of the IDSA guidelines have been biased in favor of vaccine commercialization.

By my reasoning, the need to deny the existence of persistent infection is part of the drive to commercialize Lyme disease vaccines that are not otherwise ready for market. Persistent infection is an important scientific problem that needs to be solved before any vaccine trials can be done. Instead, Wormser et al simply lie, and maintain the patients are sick with "something else."

So, instead of Dr. Wormser, we have a prominent vaccinologist, and former President of IDSA as the head of the committee? On the face of it, I find this very alarming!

(Please post this information to any Lyme disease discussion board to educate patients about the possible biases on the part of members of this new committee).

Following is a list of Lyme review panel members:

Carol J. Baker, MD,
Chair Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, TX

William A. Charini, MD
Peabody, MA

Paul H. Duray, MD (retired)
Westwood, MA

Paul M. Lantos, MD
Duke University Medical Center
Durham, NC

Gerald Medoff, MD
Washington University School of Medicine
St. Louis, MO

Manuel H. Moro, DVM, MPH, PhD
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD

David M. Mushatt, MD, MPH & TM
Tulane University School of Medicine
New Orleans, LA

Jeffrey Parsonnet, MD
Dartmouth‐Hitchcock Medical Center
Lebanon, NH

Cmdr. John W. Sanders, MD
U.S. Naval Medical Research Center Detachment, Peru
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Marguerite's Lyme story

"It's been a rollercoaster," says Marguerite, who began looking for a Lyme literate doctor when she first contracted the disease many years ago. She had just experienced the death of her second husband. She had two adorable puppies, and was active in church, taking yoga, working and staying physically fit when she discovered she had Lyme disease. Living in the heartland of Lyme in Fairfield, Connecticut, she was bitten more than once.

She got herself to an infectious disease doctor the minute she detected a tick bite, and was given short courses of doxycycline, which she now suspects were not long enough. She even received the controversial Lyme vaccine, which was only available for a brief period of time due to its ineffectiveness.

This is a frustrating and familiar story: Marguerite's Lyme symptoms began as flu-like feelings and migraine headaches. Her severe low back pain and neurological challenges made it very difficult to work, even though her company allowed her to work from home. She developed apnea, insomnia, painful swelling in the joints and more. She's gone to three infectious disease doctors who she says won't even listen to her positive test results for Lyme. Today, she uses patches for pain control, and is actively looking for a Lyme aware doctor to treat her.

We wish you well, Marguerite!

Members can listen to Marguerite's story. Please consider joining the LDRD.
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